Busy little bees

By Mir
December 8, 2005

The children are upbeat and still enjoying all of the attention they are receiving. Normally I would expect the celebrity status to start tapering off, now, but no! It is always exciting to look like someone punched you in the face! And today was the day that they both started developing black eyes–more accurately, in their case (so far), green eyes–so the fascination with their survivor status has only heightened.

Chickadee came home from school with a new bandage on her head, as she’d felt the need to show off the actual stitches, and then of course had to go down to the nurse to be rebandaged. Naturally I have taught her to stagger around with her arms out screeching “BRAINS! I WANT TO EAT YOUR BRAAAAAAAINS!” but I’m not sure if that was part of today’s demonstration. Probably I would’ve gotten a phone call if it had been.

Meanwhile, it turns out that injured children are stuffed animal magnets; in addition to the other creatures they’ve added to their menagerie since Monday (which was… what… 6 years ago? this is the longest week EVER), tonight my children declared their intention to leave me and go be raised by Kira, and I can’t say as I blame them. Just look at what she sent to each of them. It’s a bear! With expensive chocolate! It’s everything in the world they love best! (And I got my own box of chocolate, too. I think I’ll join the kids when they run away to Kira’s.)

Anyway. The kids went off to school today and basked in their celebrity, and I set out to get some things done.

I had therapy this morning, which was great, because I’m pretty sure my friends are getting REALLY TIRED of listening to my angst and self-flagellation over the accident. My therapist was kind enough to pretend to be interested while I spent my hour beating myself up and running through every possible tragic what-if scenario. Then she told me to knock it off. And then she told me to go look for a car rather than stressing out about it but not doing it.

[Digression: The tiny little Kia that I rented is possessed and makes all sort of weird noises. I think it knows that I have spoken disparagingly of it. I am sorry, little Kia. Please do not screech every time the key turns in the ignition, or moan every time the gas pedal is pressed. It doesn’t help your reputation.]

So I drove over to the Subaru dealership where I have my maintenance done. Er, where I HAD my maintenance done, back when I, you know, had a Subaru. That needed maintenance. As opposed to now, when I have a Subaru that needs to be placed in a trash compactor. Two very different things. Anyway.

A very nice, earnest man latched onto me at the dealership as I was walking around. I told him the story of my dearly departed Sylvia. (Did you know her name was Sylvia? It was. The kids named her.) I pointed out that I didn’t yet have my insurance check, and probably wouldn’t have it for up to a month. I was walking along a row of 2006 Tribecas (pretty!) and asked him how much they cost.

When I stopped laughing, I told him I’d be sure to come back for a new Tribeca right after I won the lottery. Then I asked what they had in the way of used Foresters.

My old car was a 2003 Forester, silver. The first car he took me to was a silver 2003. Huh. Well, my old car had about 33k miles on it, and this one was probably higher… I peered at the odometer. 35k. Huh. Well, my old car was a stick, and this one was an automatic. When the Lyme* was bad my knees were so swollen and achey I regularly cursed my clutch. Today, both my knees are black-n-blue, and a cruise in an automatic sounded pretty good.

So we took it out for a drive, me and Earnest Sales Guy. It drove really nicely.

We came back, and headed into the office to do the ritual dance of the automobile purchase. I love how in this technology age, buying a car still consists of the same old routine of numbers written on a piece of paper, presented to the sales manager, countered, counter-countered, and eventually a piece of paper that looks like it was used by a dyslexic to work out his math homework is the deal-sealing document.

We sat down, and he popped back up to go talk to the sales manager. Or pick his nose, and tell me he was talking to the sales manager. Whatever. He came back with his magic number on the paper. It was $4,000 more than I anticipate getting for my car. I laughed. He pretended to be wounded. I told him I couldn’t afford his lovely car, but thank you very much for your time. He urged me to counter. I told him my counter would make HIM laugh, because I didn’t have anything near what they wanted.

I felt like we were about 5 minutes away from “After you!” “No, really, after YOU!” “Oh no, I INSIST, after YOU!” etc.

So I countered. And he laughed. And I told him to show it to his sales manager, or go pick his nose, but to take a walk with the piece of paper. He did, and came back $1500 over what I’d offered. I thought it over and told him I probably shouldn’t even be trying to buy a car today, and there would be no hard feelings if he couldn’t go low enough for me. I countered $1000 under their offer and told him I was done.

I figured that was the end of that. But apparently not a lot of people buy cars on Thursday mornings a few weeks before Christmas. Woohoo!

I was so pleased with my expert handling of the entire thing, that I walked out of there and immediately called my Dad, told him what I paid, and asked him if I did okay. To his credit, he insisted that I had. Actually, we’d done the whole thing with an NADA book, so I knew it was pretty good. But I am not exactly accustomed to thinking “Gee, perhaps I should buy myself a car” and then walking into a dealership and DOING it.

I went to the supermarket afterwards, and it was kind of a letdown. Especially because we’re supposed to get a big storm tomorrow and the entire free world was there buying milk and toilet paper.

After I’d taken the groceries home and put them away, I went and picked the kids up from school, and told them we were going to go look at cars. Then I took them over to the dealership and pointed at various cars. “This one?” I would ask. “How about this one?” They poo-pooed ever choice. None of them were RIGHT. None of them were like OUR CAR.

Finally I pointed out the silver one. “Hey! That one looks just like our car!” I said. Monkey agreed, and Chickadee sadly said that it was just like our car USED to be. I leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Guess what? That’s our car.” She approved, and announced that the new car shall be Sylvia Too, T-O-O, not T-W-O. Sounds good to me.

* Speaking of my Lyme diagnosis… I got 2 lab sheets in the mail from my doctor’s office today. One said my additional tests came back elevated, indicative of the possibility of “additional infection,” and one said my Western Blot was negative but I should still probably be treated for Lyme because I am clinically symptomatic. How thorough! Yet confusing! Okay then! But did I mention I bought a car?


  1. Jenn

    All. That. Chocolate.

    I might run away to Kira’s, too.

    A looon time ago, my husband who I had not yet met was having repair work done on his car, so the dealership gave him a Kia. It had 700 miles on the odometer, and the check engine light was already on.

  2. DebR

    1. Kira should probably expect several hundred new family members after this post.

    2. When you talked about going to the grocery store after car shopping I was expecting you to tell how you wrote what you were willing to pay for bread and milk on a little slip of paper and handed it to the checkout person. Damn.

    3. Congrats on Sylvia Too!

  3. margalit

    Why are subaru’s so expensive. I can’t believe that the tribeca is over 30K. That’s insane! As a former suburu owner that sobbed when my precious silver outback bit the dust with well over 100K miles on it, I’m just not getting why they are priced so high nowadays. But they are great cars. Congrats on getting the same exact car you lost in the accident. Good for you, and good for the kids.

  4. Chookooloonks

    What is it with Suburu owners — my husband had a WRX when we lived in the States, and he is STILL in mourning that he had to sell it! People do love their Subes…

    … so anyway, Congrats on the Subie! Congrats on the chocolate! Congrats on “BRAAAAAAINS”!

    Congrats on feeling better all ’round.


  5. Katie

    Wow, you are so brave to go car shopping alone! And pretty!

    Those bears are so cute! Godiva sends me a million emails a day, I swear I gain a pound every time I open my inbox.

  6. Lisa

    Welcome to the family Sylvia Too! Hooray!

  7. Jessie

    Glad to hear you found a replacement for Sylvia. And that it was acceptable with the kiddos. I’m still waiting to get my car back from an accident that took place seven weeks ago. I kind of wish they had just made me buy a new one instead of making me wait this long to get my car fixed.

  8. Zuska

    If CurlyGirl ever gets stitches, you can bet your life she’d be doing that Frankenstein walk and reciting the “Eat your brain” line as well. I can just picture it!

    Kudos on your excellent auto negotiating! Reading that paragraph about how you introduced the kids to SylviaToo really had me all choked up. I’m in that kind of mood today. Plus I have a child who is very resistant to change and who would LOVE it if we ALWAYS got the exact same car when our lease is up.

    And I too would be knocking on Kira’s door had I not been given a lovely box of Godivas earlier this week by a very nice vendor. Mmmmm….

  9. Denise

    Forester loving family checking in here, congratulations on your find! It sounds like you got a good deal on a good vehicle, good for you! I want one of those cute little Subaru trucks to go along with our Forester but I can’t afford the darn thing!

  10. Aimee

    Welcome, Sylvia Too! (not to be confused with Audrey Two from Little Shop of Horrors) Sounds like you did a great job negotiating. And you’re pretty!

  11. shannon

    Foresters RAWK!!! I’ve got me a 2002 blue one. NO name yet, we lack the certain imagination (pah, that makes me laugh) to come up with a name. Ask Chickadee and Monkey if they have any spare ideas for a blue Forester owned by some people they don’t even know. :)

    I’m glad everyone is feeling better, although sorry to hear you aren’t feeling quite 100%…

  12. Bob

    Darn, that was quick. I was going to offer you a deal on a little beauty right over here, guaranteed low(ered) miles, driven by (my) grandmother back and forth to church (and everywhere else) easy (high) terms, priced to sell (to a sucker) today. give me a call, make me an offer. my name? Jr. Samples. my number? BR-549.

  13. Amy-GO

    Happy new car! I know that’s got to be a relief…I hate driving rentals. As for the teddy bears and chocolate…I’m sorry, I have to go read Kiwords now and start sucking up.

  14. pattie from writing mother

    I’m just glad you all are okay!!!

  15. ben

    Let me say that I Hate hate HATE buying cars. For just the reason you state (everything else in life has a price. You want a lung transplant? Here’s how much. You want a box of twinkies? This is the price. You wanna run your ad during the super bowl? You betcha, here’s our list of rates, if you get your ad on before people fall asleep it’ll cost ya more. )

    So why can’t they do that with cars?

    I’d like to buy this car please.
    Okay, that’ll be $20,000.

    Now, isn’t that easier than sitting around and going back and forth and haggling and in the end STILL paying the same price?

    For an added thrill, take kids with you when you go. Let them play all around the shiny things in the showroom, and every now and then helpfully shout things like “honey, you put that tire back on THIS INSTANT” and “Mister, you’ll be in BIG TROUBLE if you don’t stop peeing on the leather seats!”

    But, anyway. I digress.

    What I really wanted to say, is that Subaru spelled backward? Is U R A Bus.

  16. Dawn

    Kudos on the haggling! What a good job you did! And the new U R A Bus meets the approval of the kidlets. Excellent.

    Glad to hear you’re recovering. Car accidents are nasty. Be well.

  17. joaaanna

    I got a new Subaru Legacy. LOVE IT! Plus very, very safe. Yeah – yours got busted up. But I think the dump truck had the advantage in your scuffle.

    I’m so glad that you are the chillin’s are safe. They’ll play off of those wounds for ages!

    Take care of yourself – the wreck, the Lyme, the kids… all of it. It’s okay to be weirded out.

    Some weird chick in Kansas is thinking about ya.

  18. Emily G.

    Congratulations on the new car! I’m sorry to hear about the weird Lyme disease results. Perhaps they’re not doing their Westerns properly? I tested positive for TB and have obviously never had it (they’ve done MANY chest X-rays which have confirmed this fact), so I think that there are some tests which are just plain flawed. Phooey to lyme disease and to TB!

  19. Eulallia

    I am highly impressed with your crazy-cool car buying skills. What a woman!

  20. Kris

    Add me to the Mir Fan Club list! You rock, woman. There’s no way I could counter like that. But that’s definitely the way to do it.

    And the kids love it, too. Fate.

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